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Sex Offender Conditions Permitted on Washington Non-Sex Offenses

The Washington State Court of Appeals held that sex offender conditions may be imposed even when not on supervision for a sex offense.

In 2002, George Golden was convicted of a sex offense, served his time and was released. Then in 2008, Golden was convicted of robbery and again sentenced to prison.

Just before his release, the State considered committing Golden as a sexually violent predator (SVP). When it elected not to, the Department of Corrections (DOC) imposed several sex offender community custody conditions on Golden and he was released.

Golden brought a personal restraint petition, challenging the DOC's authority to impose the sex offender conditions. The trial court transferred the case to the Washington state Court of Appeals, which dismissed the petition, rejecting each of Golden's arguments.

The court first concluded that "the DOC-imposed conditions do not conflict with the standard judgment and sentence conditions." It also rejected Golden's contention that DOC may impose only "crime-related" conditions. The court found that the cited statute applies only to the court, not DOC. Rather, nothing in the text "limits DOC's supervisory conditions to those that are 'crime related,'" the court found. To the contrary, DOC is required to perform a risk assessment and impose any conditions necessary to protect the public. "It thus can . . . impose conditions related to defendant's history as a sex offender" the court held, "even though he is not being supervised for a sex offense."

The court also rejected Golden's argument that he could not be placed on electronic monitoring since he was not being supervised for a sex offense. The statute "authorizes DOC to use electronic monitoring on sex offenders," the court found, "but it does not limit DOC to electronically monitoring only sex offenders."

Finally, the court rejected Golden's argument that the condition prohibiting contact with minors punishes him a second time for his 2002 sex offense.

Noting that the 2002 offense was a crime against adult females, not children, the court found that the condition was imposed "because of a series of uncharged and unpunished offenses against minors revealed by his risk assessment." Therefore, it was not "a second punishment for any previous criminal conviction." The court held that it would not amount to double jeopardy in any event, however, because of the "non-punishment basis for the condition – the protection of a class of people against whom the defendant has previously offended." See: In re PRP of Golden, 172 Wash.App. 426, 290 P.3d 168 (Wash.App. Div. 3, 2012).

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Related legal case

In re PRP of Golden